Blogging About History

Yes, I am once again behind schedule for posting my blog. But I’m not going to apologize this time. Instead, I’m going to explain what it’s like to write a blog about history.

Blogging about history is different from many other types of blogging.

It’s fascinating, but difficult. It’s difficult because it’s time consuming to do the research involved in writing a factual, interesting story about real people who lived in a real world and did real things and had real families and dealt with real difficulties and had real experiences and lead real lives.

If I was writing about my own feelings or my own experiences or my own family or my own life, I could write a blog every day. Twice a day. Maybe even three times a day.

But the type of blog I have chosen to write is based in research.

And because I am such a meticulous researcher—which in most cases is a good thing—I feel the need to find out all I possibly can about a subject before I sit down and begin to write about it.

And once I do sit down and begin to write, I inevitably find holes that need to be filled before I feel like I have covered the subject thoroughly, even for a blog post. It’s just how I am.

What this means is that I might need to research a subject for several days or even several weeks before I feel like I have enough information to write an informative, factual, entertaining, enlightening blog about the subject.

Which is why I don’t always post a blog every week.

For instance, I am currently on a quest to research and write about the lives of Laurel County women who have been largely ignored by the historians who have written about Laurel County history.

I have discovered and written about some remarkable women who lived in Laurel County at least part of their lives and who went on to achieve some degree of fame in the wider world.

I am currently researching several women who had ties to Laurel County and who were well known in the rest of the country and even in the rest of the world, but few people in Laurel County today recognize their names or know they have ties to our county.

I think that’s a shame, and I am trying to do something about it.

But it takes time.

It takes more time to research women than men because I am unable to rely on the “normal” historical sources for information about the people in Laurel County, namely Dr. Thomas Clark’s excellent book, A History of Laurel County (although his book is where I discovered Florence Campbell, which led me to other sources for more information about this fascinating woman—see my blog post on March 27, 2016 for her story), or Russell Dyche’s In the Middle of the Wilderness, another history of Laurel County.

Why? Because like most historians, mostly men, Clark and Dyche mostly wrote about the men who created Laurel County history—a.k.a. “his story”—get it?

Even the word that describes humanity’s past is exclusive of the women—the women who stood right beside the men, who aided the men, who in some cases outdid the men—but because men have written most of the books about the past, they have largely ignored the women.

I’m happy to say that is changing, although slowly.

For example, the University of Georgia Press published a wonderful book in 2015 titled Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times.

(Notice that it was the University of Georgia press, not the University of Kentucky press. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that tidbit of information.)

Anyway, the book includes biographies of 17 notable Kentucky women—some of them unfamiliar even to me.

I read the book with delight, and when the Laurel County Public Library held a series of discussions on the book, led by one of the editors, Thomas H. Appleton, Jr., I attended and had a wonderful time learning more about some of the women written about in the book.

So, women are becoming more recognized for their achievements, but as I said earlier, it is happening slowly.

And I can understand why.

The reason women’s achievements are being recognized and written about slowly is because it takes so much time to find the information, which has not been widely recorded and must be discovered bit by bit and piece by piece diligently searching through a number of different sources.

And even then there is usually a lot of information that is never discovered because it was never recorded by anyone in any tangible form that has been passed down through the years.

So, yes, my blog posts are somewhat less than regular. But hopefully, you now understand why, and I hope you will continue to check back frequently to read what I’ve written.

Because, in the words of George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (The Life of Reason, Volume 1: Reason in Common Sense, 1905-1906)

See you soon!

Danna C. Estridge

Guest Blogger

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